My return to the station was but a momentary one, long enough to receive a word from dispatch. Some dockworker had come upon a floater in the Charles River.
Doc Brewster was finishing up his preliminary when I arrived. The beat cops had fished out the body and laid it out on a flat rocky area about five feet from the water. Doc was squatting beside a young, white male, dressed in full three-piece business attire. "Hey, MacKenzie, Good of you to make an appearance."
"Sorry, Doc. Getting old and slow. What business did someone provide us today? We got a jumper?"
"You'd think, wouldn't ya? Not many floaters come dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit. No. This gentleman got the daylights beat out of him before he took a thirty-eight to the chest. I'd guess he was out cold before they finished me off for good."
I turned to the officer who was first on th scene. "Anything on him?"
"Yes, sir. Wallet, keys, money, money clip, pocket calendar, fountain pen, the businessman's special. Nothing missing that I could make out." The young patrolman flipped open his notebook in a rather embarrassing display of unseasoned professionalism. "His license read, William James Johnston of 226 Beacon Hill Road. Age, thirty-two. Height, five-eleven. Business cards indicate that he worked for an investment firm called Billings and Johnston, located in the Ferguson Building, downtown. Had on his person, eight hundred dollars and change, six of it in hundreds the rest in twenties. Keys included a key to Packard, house keys, and number of other keys to who knows what, all attached to a Brown University a key ring hat seemed to match the Brown University ring on his left hand. No wedding ring. No photographs of anyone. His calendar had him with a full set of appointments through next Friday, less so after that."
Doc and I gave each other a smile. I asked, "Officer, is there anything else?"
Though I thought that was everything possible, he started up again. "He was carrying a Montblanc fountain pen, black, a small pearl pen knife ..."
"Officer ..." I checked his name badge, "... Officer Maloney. That is sufficient. Well-done."
"Thank you, sir."
After excusing the highly-motivated patrolman, I whispered to Doc, "I pray that I was never like that?"
"Mac, you were lucky to even find a victim's wallet."
"Would you agree with me, Doc, that this Ivy Leaguer had ticked off somebody real good?"
"Oh, I would say so."
"Time of death?"
"I'd say within the last forty-eight hours. I would think the night before last."
"He's yours, Doc. I'll see if I can track down some next of kin."
Mighty sad. A bright young man studies all his life to get ahead and in one night, he's dead. All that getting ready to end up floating face down in a polluted river.